Designed and implemented a community board inside Everytable’s cafeteria at the Center for Media and Design satellite campus.
As a team, we had to identify an issue and offer a solution of what can be designed to create community at one of the satellite campuses at Santa Monica Community College. My team was assigned to the Bundy Campus. Based on our research, we identified and found an example of a system that suffers from a severe design issue which was signage.
About Bundy Boards
Bundy Boards is an interactive community board to help facilitate community at a satellite campus. Students and faculty members have an opportunity to learn and engage with the board by either reading about the available student services or adding their own information in a categorized section on the board.
Visiting The Campus
While visiting the Bundy Campus we noticed the cafeteria was in an extremely small space with 4 round tables. The library inside the computer lab was so tiny, most of the bookshelves were empty. When entering the staircase to go upstairs there was a big open space under the staircase that was empty. In the staircase area there was caution tape surrounding the main entrance with broken glass on the ground. The work areas had two or three small round tables with some chairs.
There was also a bulletin board by the entrance to the staircase on each floor that contained random information about SMC. There were a few handwritten notes from students asking for help in subjects like Math or English, however it was unsure if these students got help or not or how long those notes had been there.
We interviewed 8 students who take classes at the Bundy Campus and interviewed 2 stakeholders; Gary Hoff who is the Bundy Campus Organizer and Erica LeBlanc who is the Dean of Academic Affairs. After the interviews we found a few key insights; there is a lack of community and ownership, dissemination of information, everyone wants to have a sense of belonging at the campus.
As humans we possess a sense of belonging. It is this sense of belonging that connects us to our surroundings and helps foster relationships. Without a structure in place to help students develop a sense of community, they will feel like they do not belong.
Why An Interactive Board?
An interactive bulletin board acts as a two-way communication occurrence. If the person receiving the message interacts with the board by posting a message or playing the game they are likely to complete a communication exchange with the board and possibly with other students. Having a central area for communication can improve the accessibility of information for students.
Studies confirm the benefit of building a sense of community in colleges. Students in colleges that have a strong sense of community are more likely to be academically motivated, and are more likely to develop social and emotional connections with the college. Creating an interactive bulletin board at the Bundy campus will help improve community building for both students and faculty.
Communication and customer service are both the key to success. Students need to feel listened to and that the college respects their needs. If this is the case, students will achieve their goals and ultimately become more successful students.
We prototyped the community board using cardboard, magnets, velcro, reusable cards, and QR codes. Having reusable cards that students can write on and post are cheap and easy to produce. QR codes would allow students to quickly scan an item on their mobile device to find out more information about a school's services such as financial aid or upcoming events. Having organized sections for students to post will help streamline information and make it easy for students to read.
We put the board up by the elevator on the main floor lobby since we agreed that this area gets the most foot traffic from every student. If we posted the board on any other floor our results would have been biased since most students only have classes on certain floors. The board was up for 3 days and on the last day we noticed students were engaging with it a lot.
Students wrote on all of the boards! One student said they need help in stats class and another student added some inspirational quotes. Some faculty members and professors even wrote on the board stating that finals are next week. People viewed the crossword puzzle, but only some were answered (We thought that maybe the puzzle we picked out was too difficult).
Making It A Reality
Our presentation was a success and the ‘sharks’ (SMC building committee) thought our idea was a great way to bring community to the bundy campus.
After our semester ended, our teacher emailed us asking our group if we would like to continue this project and work with the school to implement a community board at each of the campuses at SMC. Thankfully everyone in the group was excited and ready to move forward with this project.
Over the winter semester we worked with the building committee of SMC and Everytable to complete and implement a community board at one of the satellite campuses called the Center for Media and Design campus.
The community board was installed on one of the walls in the new cafeteria Everytable was building at the CMD campus. Since the board was placed inside Everytable’s space we had a special opportunity to work closely with Monica Rutkowski who is the director of marketing at Everytable to complete the project.